Amsterdam is a wonderfully walkable city with most major sites located in or near the city center. Public transportation is excellent and driving is strongly discouraged within the canal ring. Of course biking is the preferred Dutch way to travel and some would say the only way to truly experience the city.
Amsterdam public transport is excellent. The central point for getting on is the Central Station of Amsterdam. Here, bus, trolley and subway come together. GVB (http://en.gvb.nl/) is the public transport company of Amsterdam providing integrated metro, tram and bus service throughout Amsterdam and its surrounding areas.
24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour GVB passes allow for unlimited travel on all GVB trams, buses, metros and night buses in Amsterdam. Thus, these are not valid in the regional buses of Connexxion and EBS or on the train. A more comprehensive alternative is: Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket
Passes can be purchased at one of the GVB Tickets & Info Offices located at all major train stations or online. Outlets throughout Amsterdam will sell tickets and you can also buy tickets in trolleys and buses. In addition, 24-hour passes may be purchased from GVB drivers and conductors, as well as at most major hotels and the tourist office. Single trip tickets can be bought onboard from GVB drivers and conductors, however this is not recommended due the premium charged for a single ticket.
The trolley is the best way to navigate the city. Trams provide the best way to get around Amsterdam and run regularly until 12:15am.
City buses will take you to destinations outside of the city center. City Buses are primarily used to reach outlying suburbs and after the trams have stopped running. Night buses run from midnight until 7am with routes connecting to Central Station, Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein. Stop/Go Bus is blue mini-bus which rides through the old city centre along the Prinsengracht back and forth. It has no stops - it will stop on your request at any place of its route.
The subway is the easiest way to get to the bus. The Metro (tube) is fast but is only useful if you need to travel far outside the city center or to the Amsterdam Arena. You can download here: free metro maps.
Amsterdam is one of Europetop destinations and can be reached easily by air, land or even sea. Cheap flights from within Europe and direct flights from outside Europe are readily available, serving Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (Europefourth largest) located just a few kilometers from the city center.
A Direct Rail Link connects Schiphol International Airport to Amsterdam Central Station and is the fastest and most convenient way to get to the city center. Trains run every 10 minutes (airport train schedule) from platforms 1 and 2 in the main arrival plaza. Have change on hand to use the ticket machines to avoid the lines. A fine will be added to the fare if you do not have a valid ticket with you on the train.
Airport Shuttles depart every 10 minutes with service to more than 100 hotels throughout the city. Tickets can be purchased inside the main arrival plaza. Guests of major hotels should first check the shuttle area to see if their hotel provides a complimentary service.
The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket is a special public transport pass valid on metros, trams and buses operated by GVB, Connexxion, Arriva (only busline 858 to Keukenhof) and EBS. This ticket is also valid on the trains (NS) in the Amsterdam and the greater metropolitan area. You could call it a public transport ticket for Amsterdam and the greater metropolitan area. The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket is valid for 1, 2 or 3 successive days and for sale at Schiphol Arrivals / Plaza, Amsterdam Central Station, GVB Ticket Shops, Tourist Offices or online.
You can rent bikes from train stations and several companies in the city. There are special bike lanes throughout the city. Biking is an excellent way to avoid the chaotic traffic. A bike can be parked almost anywhere, but make sure to lock it well. Bike theft is very common in Amsterdam.
Bicycling in Amsterdam is a way of life for most Dutch and still the best way to get around. There are dedicated bike paths throughout the city and few hills to conquer. Most companies offer bicycle rentals per day with discounts for longer rentals.
Taxi stands are available at most tourist hubs including Leidseplein, Dam Square and Central Station. Hailing a taxi is quite difficult and virtually impossible on weekends, but cab service is generally prompt if you call ahead (tel. +31(0)20-777 7777 or web. http://www.tcataxi.nl/). A 5%-10% tip is expected.
For a truly Dutch taxi twist, catch one of the many bicycle taxis around the city. The pedal powered taxis can carry up to two people and are actually cheaper than conventional taxi.
Amsterdam by car
The city is a maze of one-way streets, narrow bridges and no-parking zones. This makes the city difficult to drive through. If you’d like to park you should put money in a parking machine or own a parking license or dispensation for your vehicle.
Rent a car
Although driving in Amsterdam is not recommended, car rental services are readily available at Schiphol Airport and in the city center along Overtoomstraat near Vondelpark. All major agencies are represented including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Alamo. Driving and parking in the city can be a nightmare, but may be worth the hassle for those wishing to explore the countryside by car. Here is the list of car parks.
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